A Brief Story of Block Ice Business,

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

In 1806 a brig named “Favorite” was docking Martinique San Pier with 130 tons of ice.

This episode was the biggest commercial event in the cooling business, but they did not know how to preserve and use ice. Eventually, Frederic Tudor who owns the ship has lost 1500 US dollars which is a fortune on those days. But this did not stop Frederik Tudor a few factors that were in his favor hiring ships were cheap because many left Boston empty, the Ice was free only labor of cutting need payment, insulation equipment was also free, sawdust, as a waste of lumber industry.

Tudor did not give up even he failed to pay his debts and went to jail btw 1812-1813. By 1815 at the age of 32, he managed to borrow $2100 to buy ice and pay for a new ice house in Havana which can hold 150 tons of ice. Ice houses can be called as first cold rooms to preserve ice in modern days.

By 1816 Tudor was shipping ice from Massachusetts to Cuba, but he was planning something else rather than just carrying ice. Tudor decided to import Cuban fruit to New York. In hot summer Agust of 1816 he borrowed $3000 t %40 interest to buy an orange, banana pear, and lime. And to preserve it he was using the 15tons of ice and 3 tons of hay which he shipped from Massachusetts to preserve the precious tropical Cargo for Newyorkers. The experiment did not end well all the fruits rotted and added new debts to pay but Tudor, again, did not give up.

Everyone around him was telling him to get rid of this fantastic idea of Ice Business but he was dedicated. He knew if he could find the right way to carry and preserve ice than he can manage to sell it.

Behind this dedication there was a simple idea which will change the world:

- Everybody needs ice -

Yes, it was true, everyone needed ice but they do not know until Tudor was bringing it to them. It does not matter you are poor or rich you can use it to cool your beverage, to preserve your food, to transfer meat fish and fruits, to cool a machine, to cure a burned skin, to slow down yeasting on bread dough and many others.

In 1825 Tudor was making great sales but it was difficult to cut ice and delivery it, then one of his supplier Nathen Jarvis Wyeth advised an ice cutting device which is known as Wyeth's ice plow. This device let made mass production and tripled the Tudors ice selling.

In 1833 Tudors decided to invest in a country whose people hasn’t been melting ice, India. With Samul Austin, they decided to sell ice 26000km and 4 months away from Massachusetts.

Tuscany sailed from Boston for Calcutta with 180 tons of ice on 12 May 1833. It approached the Ganges in September 1833. They couldn’t understand what the cargo, it was like a joke but the ship still had 100tons of ice.

Following 20 years India became his most profitable destination and he made $220,000 in profits. He built 3 ice houses (cold rooms) in India which is now become the Vivekanandar Illam.


Mechanical Engineer



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